Gareth Cliff cleared of hate speech over ‘22-year-old girls on their backs’ comment

2011-11-05 00:00

GARETH Cliff has been cleared of hate speech.

The complaint stemmed from an interview Cliff conducted with young KZN social activist Angela Larkan, who started a humanitarian project when she was 22.

Cliff commented that “girls of 22 usually do nothing but lie on their backs with their legs open”.

His comments on September 8 were judged by the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of SA (BBCSA) to be completely free of hate speech and not sexist.

The BCCSA findings state that: “The presenter was simply making a hyperbolic and seemingly off-the-cuff generalisation aimed at 22-year-olds, based on a stereotype of that age group’s preoccupation with sex and alcohol.

“To interpret the presenter’s verbal image of young people engaged in sexual activity [or drinking] as constituting hate speech would be a gross overreaction.”

Cliff responded: “Thank goodness for the BCCSA …”

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